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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 20+yr aluminum diesel tank developed a slow leak this past season. I get a small amount of fuel in the bilge after a week or so on the mooring, especially after I top off the tank. I thought I should repair this asap.

I though I might access the tank through the sending unit opening, drain the fuel, clean the insides, and find the hole or crack to seal from within. The problem is, the opening at the top is so small, I can't really see much inside. To make things more difficult, the fuel tank is completely glassed-in under the port lazarette, so there's no other access.

So here's the question: do I cut out old tank out and replace it (a big messy job), or can I just leave it there (empty, of course) and buy a Moeller-type tank to install above the old one. I have room above the old tank, inside the lazarette next to the holding tank. Is there any problem leaving the old tank where it is? I'd rather not cut any fiberglass if I dont have to.

Thanks :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, I tried to cut back some of the fiberglass over the tank, and found that it is merely a thin layer placed over thick plywood covering the tank. I am concerned about the structural integrity of the boat if I cut this wood away.
Maybe I could cut a new piece of plywood to fit, and then glass it all in afterward...

...Or should I just leave the old one in there, get a new plastic tank and secure it in the lazarette?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I finally got down to work after avoiding the inevitable. I decided to tear out the old leaking diesel tank, and I am really glad I did. After struggling to move the oddly-shaped aluminum tank out of its well between the stringers, I found about two gallons of fuel in a puddle OUTSIDE the tank! No wonder we had such an awful smell all the time!

Now, after trying unsuccessfully to maneuver the tank through the lazarette opening, I realize it must be cut apart.

So here's the next question: will the diesel fumes ignite in the tank if I try to sawzall it apart? I will try to drain it empty of diesel as much as I can, but is it dangerous to make sparks? I know it's not gasoline, but better safe than sorry. My internet searches on the topic are inconclusive.

TY
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have already cleaned out the puddle with my Jabsco pump. There's only a coating of fuel in the tank. I'll call my diesel guy for advice.

Haven't decided on what tank to replace with. Its an odd shape, so I doubt I'll find anything like it, so I'll have to take whatever fits. That is, unless I have one custom made. Hmmm.

I've seen the plastic Moeller types that come in odd shapes and sizes, so I may go with one of those.

This is one of my main winter projects. The other is to replace my head...
ugh!
 
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